Having worked as the executive pastry chef for Daniel Boulud and with his recent 2013 James Beard Finalist nomination for “Outstanding Pastry Chef”, it’s no surprise I ended up at Dominique Ansel’s bakery twice during my last trip to NYC.
Located in Soho, Dominique Ansel Bakery is a small café with table and counter seating. There’s also a nice little courtyard garden in the back which is open year round.
While they’re known for their pastries and desserts (including cakes, tarts and macarons), they also have savoury options for breakfast and lunch with a menu of soups, sandwiches and salads.
If there’s one thing you need to order from Dominique Ansel Bakery, it has to be the DKA (“Dominique’s Kouign Amann”) – tender, flaky, croissant-like dough with a caramelized crunchy crust ($5.25). I was a little surprised at the price of this but my surprise instantly melted away after one bite. Flaky with a wonderfully crisp and caramelized exterior, it was more indulgent than a regular croissant.
The layers inside were reminiscent of a croissant but they were slightly caramelized and had an overall sweetness that you don’t get in a croissant. Money well spent!
We wanted something that contained chocolate and also purchased a Chocolate Pecan Cookie ($3.25) which is actually gluten-free. It’s nice that they have gluten-free options! The cookie was rich, sweet and paired perfectly with a cup of coffee.
I have never tried cannelés before but having read such great things about the ones at Dominique Ansel Bakery, we couldn’t leave without trying a Cannelé de Bordeaux ($3). It turned out to be another one of my favourites!
They may look burnt but the exterior is just caramelized. The exterior was crisp and the inside was moist with a custardy and spongy texture to it. Let me tell ya, I’m completely hooked on these now! I actually purchased a box of 10 to bring back to Toronto with me and unfortunately they didn’t hold up very well. While the interior was still delicious, the exterior lost its crispness. Lesson learned…these are best eaten fresh!
We also ordered some Madeleines ($4.25 for 10 pieces/$6.50 for 20 pieces). I love that they make these to order – all day! These light, pillowy bites came lightly dusted with powdered sugar and had a bit of a lemon flavour to them. If you’re a fan of madeleines, you’ll love these.
For something on the savoury side, we ordered the Perfect Little Egg Sandwich – steamed, fluffy, farm fresh eggs, with herbs and gruyere cheese, served warm in a mini brioche bun ($5) which is available before 12pm on weekdays and 2pm on weekends.
With a name like this, you’d expect nothing less than perfection. The eggs were indeed fluffy and the combination of the eggs with the gruyere cheese had a lovely creaminess. The sandwiches are made to order so it could take a while before you get your sandwich, especially if there’s a long line. It’s also quite “little” like the name suggests so it probably wouldn’t fill you up and the egg tends to get cold quickly so eat it fast!
On a second visit, we tried the Nutella Milk Bread – tender milk brioche filled with nutella ($3.50). Nutella and crushed hazelnuts were spread within layers of the soft, fluffy bread. It was another indulgent breakfast!
There wasn’t a single thing I didn’t enjoy from Dominique Ansel Bakery. It’s definitely worth a visit!
At a glance:
• Opened by the former executive pastry chef at Daniel
• Dominique Ansel is a 2013 James Beard finalist for “Outstanding Pastry Chef”
• Located in Soho
• The “DKA” is a must order
• Savoury items are also served – soups, sandwiches and salads for lunch
• Seating is available – several tables, counter seating and a courtyard garden open year round
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: N/A
• Atmosphere: 3 stars